- The Washington Times - Friday, January 24, 2003

DALLAS A brother of defeated gubernatorial candidate Dan Morales will admit, in a plea bargain with federal prosecutors, to trying to extort $280,000 from the state Democratic primary victor.
The deal reportedly will allow Michael Morales, 40, a Grammy-winning music producer, to detail before a grand jury his role in the extortion attempt against Tony Sanchez.
Law-enforcement sources said Michael Morales used the name "Wendell Smith" and threatened that unless he was given $280,000 he would reveal information that could damage Mr. Sanchez's bid to become the state's first Hispanic governor. He sent a fax to the Sanchez campaign outlining the deal.
"He wants to get this behind him," said San Antonio lawyer John Pinckney, who handled the negotiations with federal prosecutors for the music producer. The sources said Michael Morales probably will serve 18 to 24 months and be levied a large fine.
Dan Morales, a former state attorney general who also is under federal investigation for purported devious dealing with the state's tobacco-settlement money, called his brother's actions "truly bizarre."
After winning the March primary, Mr. Sanchez was defeated by Republican acting Gov. Rick Perry in November. Mr. Perry was inaugurated Tuesday for a full term.
After the primary, Michael Morales tried to peddle his information to the Perry campaign, but was told there was no interest in it, the sources said.
Michael Morales and his brother, Ron, produced campaign ads for Dan Morales. They won a Grammy in 2002 for producing Freddy Fender's album, "La Musica de Baldemar Huerta."

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